Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thankfulness and Perspective ... here and there

God has been teaching me so much about thankfulness and perspective over that past several months.  I have made some tangible progress too!  But I have quite a ways to go too.  One day last week, the morning after the first snow of the season, I was outside scraping my car before heading to work.  When I first got to my car, there was a woman nearby scraping off her car and complaining about how cold it was, and then I saw a man next to me, cussing and letting out some frustration about the ice and snow on his windshield.  But for some reason, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.  Now, don't get me wrong ... it was COLD!  The snow and ice were very obnoxious and inconvenient.  But I was thankful.  Freezing temperatures, an early morning for a not so early bird, and a good amount of inconvenience.  You know it was the Holy Spirit at work in me!  Haha!  But I can genuinely say I was thankful.  I was thankful that I had a car to scrape off.  I was thankful I had a car with a heater that works.  I was thankful for gloves and a hat and a coat and a car scraper (with a brush!).  I was thankful I had a job and a reliable car to get me there.  I was thankful for a cozy, warm, and cute apartment to live in with my beautiful husband.  I was thankful for a godly, loving family and a wonderful church family.  I was thankful for Jesus. ... Do you see where I'm going with this?  One thought of thankfulness lead to another ... so much so that I was CRYING on my way to work!  Haha!  I was just overwhelmed ... thanking God and praying for people who don't have all of the same wonderful blessings.  Thankfulness really does change everything.  When we're thankful, we are way more likely to have and maintain an eternal perspective.  We begin to see people and circumstances with the eyes of Jesus, with all patience and understanding and compassion.  I wanna see life with those eyes, don't you?

Now, I do need to tell you ... so that you don't think I'm some super Christian ('cause you think that, right? Ha! Riiigghht ... ;)) ... At our apartment complex, we don't have washers and dryers in the apartments.  We have a laundry room in the clubhouse at the end of the complex.  So Monday night, we had a huge pile of laundry to do.  So we had to pack up our car with 4 loads of laundry and drive it down to the end of the complex ... in the cold ... on one of our only nights to relax ... using $12 in quarters ... in the cold (did I mention that already?).  And then one of the dryers stole $1.50 of our quarters without drying our clothes.  And I could only scrounge up $1.25 in quarters from my wallet.  So I had to drive across the street to a gas station to trade for quarters ... in the cold ... at 10:00 at night ... you get the picture. ... I'm sure you've guessed by now that my heart was not thankful, and my perspective was not godly.  I was a huge grumpy face!  I even said, "I wish it wasn't so hard to be thankful in this situation, but I just can't think of anything to be thankful for!"  When there was so much to be thankful for!  If nothing else, I had CLOTHES to get dirty!  I had money to pay for the laundry.  I had a cozy, heated apartment to live in. ... So, yeah.  I am SLOWLY growing in thankfulness, which in turn, helps me grow in my eternal perspective.  But it is still fairly hit and miss.  But I am growing!  And that is exciting!

Just this morning, Darrell's car wouldn't start - dead battery.  And I had to take him to work.  Then get to my job.  He was struggling to be thankful ... that's a nice way of putting it. ;)  And I was grateful that I could be patient and understanding and thankful when he could not.  It's such a blessing when one of us can be strong when the other is weak.  He does it for me all the time, so I was thankful I could be that for him.  And I just feel thankful today ... thankful that we have another car to use today ... thankful that we have the money to replace the battery in his car ... thankful that we both have good jobs ... thankful for each other ... thankful for the Holy Spirit, who works in our lives. :)

It's definitely imperfect progress ... but it's progress.
God is faithful.  Keep striving to be thankful, y'all! :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More Like Jesus

I've been thinking about resolutions lately.  Ya know ... 'cause 2013 is almost over, and 2014 is just around the bend.  Wow, isn't that crazy?!  Life really IS a vapor! ....... I was thinking, recently, about what resolutions I want to set out to tackle this next year.  But I got to thinking ... why make a bunch of resolutions that I'm just gonna end up forgetting about or giving up on in a couple of weeks?  Now, I don't wanna be Miss Negativity, and I don't have anything against New Year's Resolutions.  Actually, I think they're great!  But to be honest, I've never followed through with a New Year's Resolution in my life.  Mostly 'cause I, #1 - make too many resolutions to keep up with, and #2 - my expectations are too high.

As I grow in my relationship with Jesus more and more, I am learning that becoming more like Jesus is what God is most concerned about ... and becoming more like Jesus is really the key to a resolute life.  Resolute means "firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion."  And isn't that what making New Year's Resolutions is all about?  We wanna be determined to accomplish a set purpose.  "I'm gonna lose 30 pounds this year!"  "I'm gonna read through my entire Bible this year!"  "I'm gonna stop drinking soda this year!"  "I'm gonna get a gym membership and workout everyday this year!" ... All of these are great purposes (or goals ... or resolutions), but what about living a purposeful life in Christ? :)

I definitely wanna try to lose some weight this year - I've gained 30 pounds since I've been married. :(
I definitely wanna try to take better care of my body this year by eating more veggies and exercising consistently and cutting back on the sweet tea and carbs and sweet treats.
I definitely wanna try to be more intentional in my relationships - sending encouragement cards and praying for others more often and just simply being available.

I guess those could be my New Year's Resolutions ... but really?  I just wanna be more like Jesus. :)

And the more I think about it, resolutions are good ... they really are.  But I don't wanna get so caught up in my resolutions that I forget to LIVE a resolute life.  I wanna be determined to be more like Jesus this year.  I want becoming more and more like Jesus to be my set purpose.  I want to accomplish THAT.  If that's all I accomplish this year, then guess what?  I've succeeded. :)  And really, the more like Jesus we become, the more everything else falls into place.  Sure, it'll take time.  But as I become more like Jesus and gain His perspective, I will be more motivated to take care of my body, and I will be more others-centered.  And those are my goals (resolutions) for this year.

What purpose do you want to determine to accomplish this year? :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thankful Joy (Stolen from Emily)

One of my favorite things to do in the blogger world is steal post ideas from my fellow bloggers.  Emily over at "The Thought Spot ..." has the coolest blog I've ever seen, and I'm stealing her "Thankful Joy" post so that I can share what I'm thankful for too.  Yay!  So here goes ...

I'm incredibly thankful for ....

#1 - The Holy Spirit's work in my life every single day!
#2 - My wonderful, loving, beautiful, godly husband, Darrell :)
#3 - Lessons - God is teaching me so much about being thankful and practicing His presence ... and after my devotions last night, I think He's gonna start a new lesson about being zealous in my relationship with Him and finding new ways to serve Him (taken from Romans 12:11).  I'm so thankful that God continues to teach us when we devote ourselves to seeking Him!
#4 - My friends - even though I rarely get to see them anymore, I have some pretty awesome friends who continue to be my friend, allow us to pick up where we leave off, and love me always.  I have so many great friends, but the friends I'm specifically talking about are Emily, Maggie, Hannah, Sara-Ruth, Shelley, and Tiffany.  I am so thankful for lasting, godly friendships.
#5 - Youth ministry - My husband and I work as youth pastors at our little church in Danville, and we are absolutely in love with our kids!  Teenagers (and now, college-age folks!) are amazing!!!
#6 - God's provision - He works in my life everyday, provides for the needs of my husband and me, blesses us everyday in small, if not big ways.
#7 - A trip to Nashville to see Emily soon!  I am sooooo excited to see Emily next month!  I never get to see her or talk to her anymore ... so I can't wait!!!! :)
#8 - Joy

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dear Rick and Patti

Rick and Patti are my Bible study leaders, and they are amazing people of God.  I recently wrote them this email .... and once I got done writing it, I thought how well it tells about what God has been teaching me lately and how I am growing in the Lord ... so I wanted to share this encouragement with all of you. :)

Dear, Rick and Patti,

Thank you so much for teaching us so much about thankfulness.  Thank you for being a true example of thankfulness and sharing testimonies about how thankfulness has changed your perspective.  Thank you for promoting an attitude of thankfulness week after week at Bible study.  You guys are an amazing encouragement to me!  I am so thankful for you both and for our 20somethings group.  God is so good!

I have been learning so much about thankfulness AND practicing the presence of God over the past couple of months.  For so long, I was so discontent with my job.  I just felt like what I did meant nothing, and I had so much downtime that I was losing my mind.  I was so physically and emotionally drained.  And it was all because I was NOT practicing thankfulness. ... Well, I have been learning and living thankfulness, and wow!  Thankfulness really does change everything!  I really enjoy my job now.  I feel purpose in it.  I find joy in so many little things throughout the day.  I am using my downtime more wisely.  And I am sooo thankful for my job AND my season of life!  And ya know what?  I just got a 4.2% raise, and I found out that I have 2 personal days paid!  I considered it a HUGE blessing, and through it, I believe God was telling me, "Hey, if you just chill out, I'll take care of you ... I wanna bless you and teach you at the same time!"  And wow, does He take care of me!  I am so grateful for His grace and love and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.  God is so incredibly good!  I haven't been this content and excited since I was in high school.

Psalm 37:3 really is the key to life!
Trust in the Lord.
Do good.
Dwell in the land.
Befriend faithfulness.
(And I don't think God will mind if I add ...)
Be thankful.

Wow!  And really ... add verses 4 and 5 .....
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desire of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, and He will act.
'Cause that's what trusting, doing good, enduring, faithfulness, and thankfulness do ... they are God's desire for us, which becomes OUR true desire which results in God acting in our lives!  And hey, doesn't that sound like abundant life?? :D

Thank you, Jesus!  And thank you, Rick and Patti, for being faithful, thankful, and a wonderful example of Jesus in my life.

Love you guys,
Mical :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

An Empowering, Supportive Wife

So I'm reading this book called Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers.  Ladies, if you haven't read anything by Rivers, I suggest you find something by her.  I DON'T like to read, but every book I've picked up by her, I've really liked!  Anyways ... I'm not quite halfway through Her Mother's Hope, and I've been frustrated with the main character, Marta, for the past 60 pages or so.  It's difficult to let you know all the details without writing forever and giving away the story.  But I think Marta has stubborn and bitter and selfish tendencies, and she makes me think about the way I wanna support my husband.  I don't think Marta has done a good job of supporting her husband throughout the course of this book.  Maybe she'll get better; I still have a lot to read.  And I understand Marta's worries about finances and whether or not her husband will find a job in the new places and the many changes happening to her and her family.  But this book has stirred up some questions ....

We may have certain dreams, but what about the dream of being loved by a good man and raising a family together?  When you get married, shouldn't your dreams be your husband's dreams and your husband's dreams be your dreams?  It's a partnership, isn't it?  Why is Marta so opposed to everything Niclas wants?  I understand having your own hopes and dreams, but what about supporting your husband?  What about putting his needs before your own?

I don't know if I'm anywhere close to doing these things for my Darrell, but I want to ... and I try.  I want to be a wife who loves and supports and trusts my husband.  I want to believe in my husband and believe in his dreams.  I want his dreams to be my dreams.  I want to be uplifting to my husband and give him courage, not tear him down and nag him with my worries.  I think it's okay to have separate dreams from your husband because God has given each of us a specific calling on this planet.  But when you become one with your husband, sometimes you have to sacrifice or tweak your dreams.  Sometimes you don't.  But either way, to some extent, your dreams should become your husband's dreams, and his dreams should become your dreams.  I don't know how to explain what I'm feeling other than to say ... you must work together in your dreams, support one another, help each other in any way you can.  Be unselfish.  Be ready and willing to tweak and give things up and compromise (the good kind of compromise).  I just so badly wanna be selfless and supportive.

God, I pray for the strength to be the kind of wife who encourages and empowers my husband.  Please help me be a wife who loves selflessly and unconditionally.  Help me be a wife who looks to fulfill my husband's needs first.  Teach me to always listen to You and trust You first so that I can listen to and trust my husband.  Give me courage to always trust You and face change with an eternal perspective no matter what comes our way.  Please be glorified in our lives and in our marriage.  Thank you for Your grace and mercy and strength for each day.  I love you, Lord.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Currently ... (Stolen from Emily)

I'm stealing this idea from Emily's blog over at "The Thought Spot ..." ...........

Currently, I am ...

~ Watching ...
Yes, everyone has already told me I should stop now before it's too late.  Haha!  I hear the ending is pretty lame ... but I'm too hooked to quit.  So I guess I'll be disappointed like everyone else; I'll be bummed I didn't stop when everyone told me to; and then I'll move on to Downton Abbey.
Justice League.
I think Darrell has given up trying to watch this WITH me, which is okay.  But we started watching it together ... but when we watched it late at night, I just couldn't keep my eyes open.  (I can't do that with any show late at night though!)  So I think he moved on without me.

~ Reading ...
My ESV Bible.
Almost everyday. :)  The past couple of weeks were a real struggle, but before and after that ... almost everyday.  Yay!  Been lovin' me some Psalm 37:3!
When Perfect Isn't Enough by Nancy Kennedy.
It's a book/devotional that I've been working through for quite some time.  It's all about the Proverbs 31 woman.  Lots of human, even more great questions to ponder and Scripture to soak up and think about.  My journal is full of thoughts about the Proverbs 31 woman.  It's so great!
Boundaries by Cloud/Townsend.
Not sure I can count this as what I'm currently reading 'cause I don't know when I last read part of it.  But I started reading it several weeks ago, didn't even make it through the first chapter, and it's been sitting on the top shelf of my bookcase ready to read ever since.
Freedom Writers Diary.
Again, I probably can't count this one either.  I started reading this the day of my big Praxis exam but haven't read any of it since ... and that was over a month ago.
I may be the worst reader ever!

~ Eating ...
Junk food.
Yeah.  I've been really struggling to eat well for several months now.  It's so easy to get in a rut.  And when your husband thinks you're the "sexiest woman in the world," it's easy to say, "I'm good enough for my husband, so that's good enough for me."  But I do want to be healthier and have more energy and lose a little weight ... so I am still trying to do better.
Trader Joe's/Organic and All-Natural Foods.
I will say I have been doing our grocery shopping at Trader Joe's and the organic/all-natural sections of Meijer for the past 6 months ... so I'm making progress.  And boy, do I love Trader Joe's!

~ Drinking ...
Sweet tea!
Yep, I'm addicted.  Overall, I am drinking less sweet tea than I used to ... but I'm not sure I'll ever give it up.
I am working at drinking more water than anything else!

~ Learning ...
Psalm 37:3.
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and befriend faithfulness."  I am learning more and more to trust God completely, even when I don't understand or like what's going on.  I am learning that God is more concerned with our faithfulness than our happiness or success or even fulfilling His calling for our lives ... because that IS His ultimate calling for our lives - to be faithful no matter where we're at or what we're doing.
I am learning to replace bad attitudes and discontentment and not being a teacher with thankfulness.  I am learning to praise and thank God instead of complaining.

This was fun!  You should do it too!  I'll ask what Emily asked ...
What are YOU doing CURRENTLY??? :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Something I'm Learning ... and Learning ... and Learning :)

I totally understand the struggle in figuring out God's will. I've been trying to figure it out since I graduated from high school. Honestly, it's been incredibly discouraging at times ... but ya know, I'm learning that ultimately, God just wants our faithfulness. He wants us to be faithful where He's got us, even when we don't understand it, even when we don't like it, even when we ache for something more or something different.

Psalm 37:3 is my life verse ... "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and befriend faithfulness." It's the key to life! Really, it is! God has a plan for our lives, yes. But really ... He just wants us to trust Him no matter where we are or what we're doing, do good to the people around us and in this crazy world, be all in (dwell in the land) where He's got us (or at the very least, endure where we are! haha!), and be faithful to Him, to our spouses, to our friends and families, and to the people and tasks He's called us to now.

This has been such a hard lesson for me to learn ... and I'm not done learning it! ... Sheesh, I'm crying as I'm typing this because God has just been so at work in me about this lately. I am so thankful! God is just so faithful ... and He NEVER leaves me. I am just so thankful. I have been learning this lesson even more so lately because God has not allowed me to pass my Praxis exam to become a teacher for several years now.  I've nearly given up more than once.  But I recently tried again ... and I passed (one of the two tests at least)!!!  And I am taking steps toward becoming a teacher once again.  But for a long time, I struggled with some bitterness, some frustration, and just some flat out discouragement because I couldn't have my dream job.  I could never have what I believe God had promised me.  But what I've found is that, over the past several years, God has been growing me!  He has been growing me in HIS dream job for me (simply to be faithful no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing), and He has been growing me in trusting Him more.

I have my moments, but I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that no matter what happens with this Praxis exam, I'm cool.  I'm not worried.  Even if I don't get hired as a teacher right away ... or ever.  Even if we can't afford the Transition to Teaching program that I have to finish before I can truly solidify a job.  Even if I get pregnant and don't teach because I'm staying home with our baby (haha!  Don't think about that one too hard ... I'm just saying ... it could happen. ;)).  Even if I have to work in a job I'm not very excited about (I'm learning another lesson concerning this too - thankfulness!)  No matter what.  I'm good with whatever God wants to do.  And I feel such peace.  That is HUGE for me.  Peace comes from trusting God.  I have grown in my trust of God.  And I think, in the end, that's the greatest lesson you can learn on this planet ... to trust God with all your heart. ... Things are gonna change.  Finances are gonna be tight.  You're gonna get pregnant when you least expect it (or at the very least, you aren't gonna have a clue how to raise the kid even if you knew he was coming!).  You're gonna say something stupid to make your husband feel bad.  He's gonna say something stupid to you too.  You're gonna be selfish.  You're gonna be dissatisfied with your job or your flabby belly or your attitude or your season of life.  Your loved one is going to die.  Things are gonna change.  You're gonna like some of it, hate some of it, be unsure of some of it, love some of it .... But in the end, this life is crazy!  And the greatest thing we can do is TRUST IN JESUS!

Every time I hear that phrase "Trust in Jesus," I think of the Third Day song ... here are the lyrics to the chorus ...
What I've done is ...

Trust in Jesus.
My great Deliverer,
My strong Defender,
The Son of God.
I trust in Jesus,
Blessed Redeemer,
My Lord forever.
The Holy One, the Holy One.

My advice? Pursue your dreams, and be faithful. I am learning that God's purpose and provision are perfect, and I just need to trust Him in it all. And believe me! It is a constant lesson! But God is so patient with me.

Psalm 37:3 ... I know you wanna read this precious verse again!  So here it is ...

PSALM 37:3


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Will Trust in Him

Do you ever think about how fast life is going?  Do you ever wonder what you could accomplish if you had all the time in the world, if you didn't get so distracted with silly things, if you were completely unselfish?  Do you ever wish you were a more disciplined person?

Over the past few months, I have been in a yearning mood.  I might be the most blessed person I know ... I'm not bragging; I'm just being thankful.  But at the same time, I want more.  Not more stuff.  Just ... I want to live more abundantly ... really LIVE to the fullest.  I want to be healthy and active ... heck, I'd settle for fitting back into my size 14 jeans again.  Dang!  Haha!  I wanna be a prayer warrior.  I wanna grow in my spiritual gifts.  I don't know if I have ALL of these, but I sure do have the potential for 'em: administration, encouragement, faith, helps, giving, and hospitality.  I wanna serve my husband with all my heart and stay on top of things around the house ... pray for him, say encouraging things to him, pack his lunches, fix his breakfasts, make sure he never runs out of clean underwear, play video games with him, rub his back ... ya know, things that he really appreciates.  I wanna be more intentional in all of my relationships ... stay in better touch with my friends, pray more for my friends and my SoZo kids and my family, go to the SoZo-ers' sporting events and music performances, write letters of encouragement to people, smile, and live in thankfulness so that others (and myself) will be uplifted.  I wanna go on more walks and look up at the sky and soak up the sun.  I wanna cherish my quiet times with the Lord and grow in trust.  I wanna trust in the Lord and do good and dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  I wanna honor Jesus, think on His thoughts, thank and praise Him, and just LIVE for Him every second of every day.  I want my fulfillment to come from Him alone.

But I think, instead, I condemn myself.  I beat myself into the ground day after day because I'm not perfect ... because I am not disciplined ... because I burned a piece of flipping toast!  Why do I freak out and hate myself when I burn a piece of garlic bread for my husband's dinner?  Why do I cry myself to sleep when I say something that hurts my husband's feelings?  And then wake up grouchy the next morning because I feel like the most selfish person on the planet?  The list could go on and on, but these are the kinds of things I beat myself up about.  Ridiculous, I know.  But I don't know how to stop.  I've asked God to show me what grace really means.  And if I can accept God's grace .... well, maybe that's just it.  Maybe I DON'T accept God's grace.  Hmm ... maybe I just accepted God's grace for my salvation.  Maybe I thought it was a one time thing, and now I'm on my own.  Deep down, I know that God's mercies are new everyday ... but how do I move that from my head to my heart?  It was for freedom that Christ set you free (Galatians 5:1)!  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)! ... I know all those by heart ... but they're not really in my heart, are they?  Not if I beat myself silly every day of my life.

And I've often wondered this ... is it pride, or is it insecurity?  Am I that stinkin' vain?  Do I think I'm such big stuff that I could even have a chance at being perfect?  Or am I just that insecure?  Do I think that little of myself that I have to be perfect to be worth anything? ... I honestly don't know.  I don't like the sound of either one of those though.

So I will keep praying.  I will keep praying for an eternal perspective ... to see myself with God's eyes.  'Cause I know God loves me.  I know He cares about my little life and thinks it's big!  I know He has mighty plans for me.  I know that He's not done with me yet (Philippians 1:6).  I know that He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:6).  I know that He is my strength and my portion (Psalm 73:26).  Yep, I know all those too.  But again with the "knowing."  I know it in my head but not in my heart.  I suppose that will be my new prayer ... that God's Truth will saturate not just my mind but my heart as well.  God is faithful.  He will help me overcome these struggles.  And make me stronger in the process.  I will trust in Him.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Imperfect Progress

Hello! ... It's hard to believe it's been nearly 11 months since my last post.  My life has changed so much since May 2012.  My last post was just a few days before my beautiful, amazing husband proposed to me.  Yep, he proposed on May 21st last year.  We were married on September 15th.  And we just moved into our new and awesome apartment on March 30th ... just 3 days ago.

So much has happened.  It's simply amazing how God works in our lives each day ... and the seasons He brings us in and out of.  The seasons of life are always changing, aren't they?  In one way or another.  Relationships ... jobs ... lessons we're learning ... home addresses ... attitudes ... eating habits ... friendships ... perspectives ... dreams ... goals.  If it's not one thing, it's many things.  If it's not many things, it's one thing.  Something is always changing in our lives.  And change is good.  I know that's hard to believe at times, but change really is good.  Changes in life's relationships and circumstances and seasons are so incredibly important because they help us become the person we wanna be, the person we're supposed to be, and the person God called us to be.

I so badly want to be ALL that God has called me to be.  It is the greatest desire of my heart.  I struggle ... daily! ... with the CHANGE that requires.  If I wanna be everything God intended me to be, I must change my daily habits and attitudes.  While my flesh screams and wails about lazy and selfish pleasures, my heart cries out for godly, productive, and eternal joys. ... I wanna do better.  I wanna honor God with my mind, with the condition of my heart, with my relationships, with the way I take care of my body, with finances, with my Christian walk.  I fail so often, and I get caught up in my failures probably even more often. ... I don't wanna focus on my failures anymore.  I wanna focus on baby steps.  Better yet, I wanna steal Lysa TerKeurst's phrase and make it my own: I wanna live each day with IMPERFECT PROGRESS.  As long as I'm moving forward, I am making progress.  No matter how slow ... no matter how much I struggle in opposition ... no matter how many times I "fail."  I don't have to be perfect.

Mical, did you hear that?


I've spent my whole life striving.  The definition of striving is "struggling in opposition."  Striving is a good thing ... really it is.  Life is hard.  We must constantly fight against the flesh.  That is a good thing to do ... a MUST!  But striving isn't always good the way I do it.  I don't always struggle in opposition with God.  Often, I struggle in opposition with myself.  Me.  How can I overcome this?  How can I make myself better?  How can I be closer to perfect? ... And that's just NOT what God wants us to do with ourselves.  He wants the focus off ourselves and on Him.  He desires progress, not perfection.  He hopes that we thrive instead of strive.  And that's what I want too!  I wanna love God with all my heart, mind, and strength.  I want to love my husband with selfless love and be his helper.  I want to encourage the world.  I want to treat my body as a temple and get healthy.  I wanna crave God's Word and be a prayer warrior. ... I DON'T wanna be perfect.  I wanna be who GOD wants me to be and do what GOD wants me to do.  And all God desires is a pure heart and imperfect progress.